It may not look all that different from the outgoing model, but the 2018 Audi S5 coupe is all new both inside and out. The V6 ditches a supercharger for a single twin-scroll turbo that provides 21.5 psi of boost. That engine is mated with ZF’s wonderful eight-speed automatic and sends power to all four wheels with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system. Like in the S4, the new engine makes 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, up 21 horsepower and 44 pound feet over the old V6.
This particular Daytona Gray car comes with a lovely shade of quilted red leather over the sport seats. Audi added the S sport package with red brake calipers, adaptive dampers, and a sport differential. Other options include a Bang & Olufsen sound system and 19-inch wheels with summer tires.
Associate Editor Reese Counts: I dug this car straight from the moment I opened the door. I dig red leather, and I especially like it paired subdued colors like black, white or grey. The seats are comfortable and the leather is nice and soft, though I’m getting a little tired of quilted stitching. The interior design is clean and, while I don’t usually like it, the carbon fiber trim works well here. There’s a lot of room up front, and it helps make the cabin feel less claustrophobic.
This new V6 is a sweetheart. It’s smooth and sounds like a full chorus as it sails to redline. Torque comes on low and, no matter where you are in the rev range, there’s power for days. Shifts on the ZF eight-speed are quick when you need them to be and smooth when you don’t. As expected, quattro puts power down with next to no drama. It simply moves.
One neat thing we found during the live drive is that the engine cover comes off with ease. Pop it off and the turbo is right there!
Managing Editor Greg Rasa: This isn’t your grandmother’s car. Which is a statement meant both to praise its snappy performance, and to say enough with the quilting already. I’m not a fan of gray cars, but the red interior really pops in this combo. The leather is nice to the touch, and the seats are infinitely adjustable. But this quilt pattern seems to be a trend in luxury cars, and in cars putting on airs of luxury, and, well, it’s just not my thing. And yes, that’s definitely a First World problem.
Otherwise, the interior is handsome in that Audi way, with about a mile of red stitching accenting everything from the steering wheel to the shifter boot to the floormats. A taller driver will rejoice at the ample legroom but might need to recline the seat a bit, as my head was grazing the sleek coupe roof. But headroom, quilting — those are quibbles. The car drives wonderfully, with all the power and performance any reasonable person could want.